“We have put processes in place to purposefully tackle specific issues that impact maternal and infant mortality and morbidity,” said Melissa Merritt, associate chief nursing officer, Berry Women’s Center, Miami Valley Hospital. “This award reflects those quality initiatives.”
One of the metrics taken into consideration was C-sections, or Cesarean section, which Merritt said Premier has been working to decrease the number of first-time mothers who undergo a C-section. Once a first-time mother has a C-section, future pregnancies will likely have to undergo C-sections, Merritt said, and additional surgeries means extra potential for health risks.
“We work diligently to avoid a C-section if at all possible,” Merritt said.
Approximately five to six years ago, Premier’s C-section rate for first-time mothers was around 30%, and now it is around 24%, Merritt said. Miami Valley Hospital sees approximately 3,500 births, and system-wide, Premier sees about 4,500, Merritt said.
“We have a lot of deliveries come through,” Merritt said.
Merritt credited the work culture at Premier, saying employees prioritize safety, as well as listening to input from each other. Doctors listen to nurses, and nurses listen to doctors, she said, adding, “More importantly, we’re listening to the patients.”
In addition to C-sections for first-time, low-risk pregnancies, they also plan on paying attention to hypertension, or high blood pressure during pregnancy.
“Maternal hypertension is one of the primary drivers of maternal and fetal mortality, morbidity rates,” Merritt said.
Miriam Cartmell, network executive director of Kettering Health Women’s and Children’s Services, also said Kettering Health is participating in statewide initiatives to address maternal hypertension. While the U.S. News report on maternity care did not factor in hypertension data as the report focused on uncomplicated pregnancies, Cartmell said maternal hypertension can occur anytime in a pregnancy, including sometimes at the time of labor.
“This recognition is a direct result of the excellent, high-quality care our maternity teams provide to our patients,” said Cartmell about the U.S. News report on maternity care. “It helps new and expectant parents feel confident in choosing a Kettering Health facility for maternity care.”
Cartmell also recognized their staff and work practices, saying their processes are standardized across hospitals in Kettering Health as much as possible.
“You are having the same policies, the same physician orders, the same quality evaluation done regardless of where you deliver,” Cartmell said. “That creates a synergy for all of us to be working toward the same goals in the same manner.”